Smriti Irani, state education ministers discuss re-test for those failing Class X exam

NEW DELHI: The possibility of introducing a “re-test” to allow students who do not succeed in the Class X exam at the first go and “streaming” to provide those who still don’t make it to consider vocational or skill-based programmes were among suggestions considered at a recent meeting of BJP state education ministers with HRD minister Smriti Irani.

The meeting, also attended by some BJP office-bearers, saw a discussion on the Maharashtra government’s plan to introduce a re-test for Class X students that could help unsuccessful students not having to wait a year to attempt clearing the exam.

The test is to be held soon after the Class X results are released and could help students make it to the senior secondary grade even if they are disappointed by their results, BJP vice-president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe said.

“The Maharashtra government scheme will be introduced in 2016 and can be considered by other states and the Centre as well,” Sahasrabuddhe said.

There is a further option in case students do not make it past the Class X exam by way of aptitude or “streaming” tests that can help those who are not academically minded. This can be useful for students who may otherwise have no choice but to struggle with traditional options like arts, commerce and science in the senior secondary classes.

Providing vocational options would help keep students in a productive stream, prevent dropouts and protect teenagers from feelings of low self-worth and isolation that can make such persons susceptible to addictions or anti-social company, Sahasrabuddhe said.

The meeting felt that options developed for Maharashtra schools could be replicated and it might be useful to consider other methods to enhance the quality and relevance of curriculum by seeking feedback from students.

The state ministers felt it was often the case that textbooks were written by an expert panel in a top-down approach that did not take into consideration the interests and attention spans of young people. “There is no reason why literature and poetry need to be restricted to certain classics or genres. Contemporary or recent writers who work in popular culture can also be considered. This was a suggestion,” Sahasrabuddhe said.

The efforts of Chhattisgarh government to provide options of studying in Chhattisgarhi instead of Hindi and the Maharashtra government’s plan to digitize about 100 dialects that are in danger of going extinct due to dwindling populations also found favour with other states considering similar initiatives.